News / Africa

Civil Society Pushing for Arms Trade Treaty

Joe DeCapua

Final negotiations begin in July on the Arms Trade Treaty. The agreement would control the global trade in conventional weapons from rifles to tanks to warships. This week, the last round of preliminary talks is being held in New York.

In late 2006, the United Nations adopted resolution 61/89 that allowed work to begin on the Arms Trade Treaty, or ATT.

The proposed agreement has the support of 100 civil society groups, including the West Africa Network on Small Arms. Baffour Amoa is president of the NGO.

“It will frustrate arms traffickers and make it hard for them to ship and transship arms through naked, corrupt practices. I think it will boost the impact of existing regional protocols against small arms and light weapons proliferation. I think arms exporting countries will be more cautious in transferring arms to conflict zones and give peace-making the much needed chance,” he said.

Amoa said, “Transparency, monitoring and accountability in the arms trade may become more stringent.” But he added the ultimate goal is to save lives.

Landmines and other weapons

The Arms Trade Treaty is broader in scope that the Landmine Treaty that’s been in effect since the late 1990s.

“The landmine treaty was specific against a particular weapon that many states found unacceptable to use because of its devastating impact on human lives. The Arms Trade Treaty is really going to cover broader conventional weapons from tanks to rifles and so on and so forth,” he said.

However, because it addresses so many types of weapons, it could be harder to enforce than the landmine treaty.

“In every situation you have the good and the bad guys and I guess the bad guys will always take advantage when they find loopholes. Now with the treaty, we’re hoping that exporting countries will be more careful because they will only export after having assessed the risk associated with the transfer according to the treaty provisions. And this may change the situation drastically,” he said.

Bout

Amoa lent his support to the treaty because of his work in Liberia and Sierra Leone when those countries were engulfed in civil war.

Last year, suspected Russian Arms dealer Viktor Bout was convicted of conspiring to sell missiles and other weapons in Thailand.  He was arrested in a sting operation by U.S. and Thai authorities and is now in prison in New York. Bout has been accused of helping to fuel conflicts in West Africa, but has not been tried on those allegations.

However, Amoa said Bout left a legacy in the region.

“I can say that if one looks at the situation in Nigeria, (if) one looks at the situation in other states like Cote d’Ivoire and so on and so forth, these are countries that cannot be listed or said to be major arms producers. Yet, the kind of sophisticated weapons that were found in these countries and prolonged conflict was definitely the work of somebody, who had impunity to move weapons all over the place. And this could be associated with some of the fallout of Viktor Bout’s activities,” he said.

Amoa described statements made by the large arms producing countries regarding the treaty as “encouraging.” But differences are expected to arise in July during final negotiations in New York.

In October, Secretary of State Clinton said the United States “is committed to actively pursuing a strong and robust treaty that contains the highest possible, legally-binding standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons.”

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid